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Kelly D. Brownell

Robert L. Flowers Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Policy
Sanford School of Public Policy
BOX90245, Durham, NC 27708
240A Sanford Building, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708


Kelly Brownell is the Robert L. Flowers Professor Emeritus of Public Policy. He served as dean of the Sanford School from 2013-2018 and as Director of the School's World Food Policy Center from 2018-2022.

In 2006 Time magazine listed Brownell among “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” in its special Time 100 issue featuring those “.. whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.”

Brownell was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 2006 and has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, Graduate Mentoring Award from Yale, the James McKeen Cattell Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rutgers University, and the Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, Brownell was at Yale University where he was the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, professor of epidemiology and public health, and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. While at Yale he served as chair of the department of psychology and as Head of Silliman College.

Brownell has published 15 books and more than 350 scientific articles and chapters. He has served as president of several national organizations, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy and the Division of Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

Brownell has advised the White House, members of congress, governors, world health and nutrition organizations, and media leaders on issues of nutrition, obesity and public policy. He was cited as a “moral entrepreneur” with special influence on public discourse in a history of the obesity field and was cited by Time magazine as a leading “warrior” in the area of nutrition and public policy.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Robert L. Flowers Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Policy · 2023 - Present Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor Emeritus in the Sanford School of Public Policy · 2023 - Present Sanford School of Public Policy
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute · 2013 - Present Duke Global Health Institute, University Institutes and Centers
Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2014 - Present Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

Rutgers University · 1977 Ph.D.
Rutgers University · 1975 M.S.
Purdue University · 1973 B.S.